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ITV.com Reports: The 33-year-old was joined for the final kilometre of his 1,791-mile, 157-day Great British Swim around the mainland by 400 fellow swimmers in Margate on Sunday.

Edgley left the Kent town on June 1, swimming in a clockwise direction, and his arrival on the beach at 8.40am was his first time on dry land since then.

Swimming up to 12 hours a day, including through the night, he has battled strong tides and currents in cold water, storms, jellyfish and swimming into the chilly autumn.

His efforts have taken their toll on his body, including shoulder pain and wetsuit chafing, plus salt water exposure.

Edgley’s odyssey was compared from the outset to the feat of Captain Matthew Webb, who in 1875 became the first person to swim the English Channel.

But, while more than 1,900 swimmers have since made the crossing, few are likely to follow in Edgley’s wake. Fifty-seven of the swimmers who joined him on Sunday morning have swum the Channel.

Edgley was accompanied by Cornish sailor Matthew Knight, supporting from his catamaran Hecate.

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The Guardian reports: A new drive to encourage private schools to share their swimming pools is being launched by the government amid concerns about the number of children who emerge from primary school unable to swim.

Fewer than half of all British children are able to swim 25 metres by the time they reach the age of 11. Schools will get a share of a £320m fund to help boost swimming lessons, he said.

While the Department for Education has not proposed any new measures to compel private schools to open their pools, Hinds said he was personally determined to “make sure our children grow up safe and water confident”. “Many independent schools are already doing this, but others can and must do more to help every child in their community,” he said.

This year’s figures from the Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,326 private schools in the UK, show that of 603 of its member schools that have pools, 304 already share them in some way with state school pupils.

Meanwhile, 72% of primary schools use public pools for swimming lessons, while 15% use their own pool and 10% use another private facility.

Julie Robinson, general secretary of the ISC, said that there was “much goodwill from schools fortunate to have facilities that may be in short supply locally”. She added that “raising awareness of partnerships helps more state schools and independent schools develop mutually beneficial programmes”.

“Headteachers who have opened up their facilities tell us it’s a win-win for the schools and the community,” said Charles Johnston, director of property for Sport England, a public body under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “It allows facilities to be used at times when otherwise they’d be empty.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, who is responsible for sport, said: “This barely moves the dial on the pressing need to improve the health of our children, when six out of 10 are leaving primary school either overweight or obese. Read more on this story…

See also: Mass Education Saved Lives

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Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Just as austerity measures are forcing local authorities to reduce opening times at swimming pools across the country; the BBC reveals that nearly one in four of us here in the UK are suffering from anxiety and depression and that this suffering could be greatly reduced by a regular trip to the pool.

Although this understanding is not new (see: Swimming Could Cheer Up Britain) appreciating the benefits of swimming could help stem the exodus of swimmers from pools and bolster the efforts of those keen to return to swimming outdoors. ‘They must be mad’ is a common response from those who find it strange to see people river swimming, but perhaps the fact that that we do swim proves the contrary.

The Independent reports: According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Swim England, 1.4 million adults in the UK have found that swimming has had a positive effect on their anxiety or depression.

Furthermore, almost half a million of British adults who swim and have mental health issues have stated that swimming consistently has resulted in them making less frequent visits to a medical professional in order to discuss their mental health.

The poll found that around 3.3 million Brits over the age of 16 who have mental health issues swim at least once every two to three weeks.

When questioned about how swimming affects their mental state, 43 per cent of the swimmers stated that it makes them feel happier, 26 per cent said that it makes them feel more motivated and 15 per cent said that it makes it easier for them to cope with everyday life.

 

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The Telegraph reports: It was Sept 6 1988 and he was 11 years and 336 days old, the youngest person to ever swim the English Channel. Although Cap Gris-Nez is only 20 miles from Dover, his route had taken 32 miles, allowing for the pull of the tides.

Thirty years on, his incredible record still stands. Not that Gregory, now 41, talks about it much. He’s the record-breaking British swimmer you’ve never heard of.

That his record is unbeaten is in part due to the Channel Swimming Association banning those under 12 from swimming the channel, just weeks after his crossing.

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Gregory takes his daughters swimming, and while he admits his wife would probably have something to say about them doing a similar challenge, he is in no doubt that the world we live in today has become much more risk-averse. “Have we lost something? Probably. Are we in a better place? I don’t think so. Because that was an enormously enriching childhood for me. It’s been the foundation of what’s been a very happy life and something I will pass on to my children.”

To carry that message, Gregory has written a memoir charting the extraordinary three years of his training to triumph, called A Boy in the Water.

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The Independent reports: Ross Edgley, 32, has not set foot on land since he left Kent on 1 June on his 2000-mile challenge. On Tuesday he broke Benoit Lecomte’s record of 73 days spent swimming across the Atlantic ocean in 1998, his team said.

He swims for two six hour stretches a day when the tide changes and rests for the remainder of the time on his support boat.

However he estimates he still has another 60 days of swimming to go before he reaches Margate to complete the challenge. More…

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Swim Safe Lessons St Ives

Pirate FM News reports: Children are being urged to ‘Swim Safe’ in St Ives this summer.

Sessions are underway as part of the national programme that teaches kids outdoor swimming and water safety. The lessons are open to 7-14 year old’s over the summer holidays. The aim is to make sure children know what to do if they do get into trouble in open water. Watch the video…

Comment: Training children to Swim Safe in open water is the first step in reintroducing safe swimming and preventing needless drowning in England. The next step is to establish safe bathing places on river and lakesides, so that these swim safe skills can be reinforced.

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The Mirror Reports: Parents whose children drowned unite in grief to spare heartbreak for other families.

As the summer heatwave ­continues to lure youngsters into rivers, lakes, reservoirs and the sea, they are pleading for action.

“Sadly, open water is a magnet for ­people during the summer. People see it as somewhere they can cool off. But they don’t see the danger.”

Comment: Notice that learning to swim is at the bottom of this list of safety measures below! Uniquely our culture has encouraged pool swimming and vigorously discouraged open water swimming for decades. On a hot sunny day it is natural for youngsters to seek out open water fun. Sadly poor swimming ability does not stifle confidence or bravado. See: From Lifesaving Education to none at all!

RLSS – Tips to swim safe

The Royal Life Saving Society UK gives 12 tips to reduce the risks of swimming in open waters.

■ Always look for warning and guidance signs.

■ Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it.

Avoid drifting in the currents.

■ Do not enter fast- flowing water.

■ Be aware of underwater hazards.

■ Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold.

■ Never enter the water after consuming alcohol.

■ Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover.

■ Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help.

■ If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them and shout for help and phone the emergency services – call 999 or 112.

■ Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure. Or throw something buoyant such as a ring buoy or anything that will float.

■ Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone.

■ Learn swimming and life-saving skills.

 

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